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University of Oregon

University of Oregon

As the home of modern running, the practice of environmental law, sustainable architecture, on-campus free speech, and a little company called Nike, the University of Oregon has one hell of a history. But having never done a branding campaign, the full story had yet to be told.


Ask most people about the University of Oregon and they’ll tell you the same thing — it has a great sports program. And it does. But it also happens to be an outstanding AAU research institution. We were challenged to elevate recognition of UO’s academic and research excellence, and position it as one of the nation’s premier research universities.


The brand we developed brought to life an insatiable curiosity to explore what permeates the university. To highlight the uniquely collaborative nature and unrelenting desire found on campus to “finding a better way,” we called it Wonderlust, and executed a campaign across a wide range of communications products that retained the university’s unique sense of irreverence. We began with an integrated ad campaign centered around the concept of ‘if’ — the idea that asking the question, “What happens if” drives UO — and all of society — forward.

The ‘if’ TV spot launched during the most-watched Rose Bowl to date, and the campaign extended across all media channels, painting Eugene, Portland, and other West Coast power markets green and yellow. From a search piece deck of cards full of unexplained answers igniting curiosity and engagement, to a “Plant Your Flag” acceptance package and associated microsite staking pride as a Duck, to a “Duck Like These” yield piece showcasing young, relevant, tangible alumni stories, we extended the brand throughout the recruitment process. But we didn’t stop there. Through a partnership with hometown favorite Track Town Pizza to cover pizza boxes in UO breakthroughs, research and announcements, to igniting alumni nostalgia via a set of UO air fresheners with unique Eugene smells only UO could claim (patchouli anyone?), to sponsorship events at places like Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival to connect young alum with prospective students where they already are, we capitalized on what makes a Duck, a Duck.


In an environment filled with wonderers, wanderers, supporters and critics, the Wonderlust concept has been widely embraced across campus, with every corner of the institution excited to not only (finally!) be talking about themselves (a very non-Oregonian idea), but to be doing it in a way only Oregon can. From faculty and staff to students and alumni to donors and Nike, UO is proud to be reintroducing itself to the world.

The epic Rose Bowl launch of the TV commercial elicited over 28 million ESPN viewers and 92,000 in-stadium game-goers. And it prompted people to action. In the hour after the ad aired, UO’s web traffic quadrupled. Visits to the academics information page doubled, while traffic from the school’s homepage to the admissions page was six times what it was the previous year when the Ducks beat Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Add to that the 4 million impressions made via media coverage from outlets like Sporting News and Media Post, people are talking. And about more than just football.

Over 4 Million Campaign Impressions
6 Times More Web Traffic Over Previous Year
28 Million ESPN Views of TV Spot